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Comment Re:That's Heavy (Score 1) 201

Why do you think that? Things do not improve simply because time passes.

According to Wikipedia, the Rocketdyne-developed F-1 engine is the most powerful single-nozzle liquid-fueled rocket engine ever flown, and the Saturn V the largest rocket ever.

The X-Space plan is very exciting but they have a lot of work cut out for them.

Comment Re:Average to reduce Bias (Score 1) 141

You mean mechanical computers, surely not semiconductor based ones. I'm not sure if the energy band gap of semiconductors were known before 1900, but surely that was a curiosity and not well understood.

The transistor was conceived in 1926 by Lilienfeld and implemented for the first time in 1947 by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley, for which they won the Nobel prize. Notice that QM was the mainstay of physics by then, and that a complete explanation of semiconductor physics requires QM. In semiconductors, electrons behave more like waves than particles.

Comment Re:The same NASA that pushed Thiokol to fly? (Score 1) 266

Free market typically pushes for cheaper first, then good enough and finally fast enough and no further. This makes perfect sense, I think.

NASA does not have an unlimited budget. They have been pushing for cheap, good, fast missions for years, and been very successful lately with New Horizon for instance. They have been saying that manned missions cost too much. Last I heard Elon Musk is the one wanting to go to Mars.

This is not to say that pork barrel projects don't exist at NASA, but note that Congress had people like Tom Coburn, who were very good at exposing them. Note also that public spending is supposed to be fully accountable.

Comment Re:Is this Hyperloop or "Hyperloop"? (Score 1) 125

Yes but you do not have to go that low in pressure. Obviously if you recreate the air pressure corresponding to 45,000 feet (10% of sea level pressure), then there is plenty of air for lift. This is altitude where the Concorde used to fly. It would be a marketing feat to call that vacuum, but this is certainly low pressure.

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